Winnipeg’s pre-eminent architect Etienne Gaboury built the Provincial Remand Centre in 1994. His Precious Blood church (1969) was a high watermark in our city’s modernist design. Whenever artist/filmmaker Noam Gonick would walk by the Remand Centre he’d come across girlfriends and family members of inmates standing across the street from the facility waving and gesticulating to their loved ones inside. Often the girls were underage or at-large from the law and could not get inside to visit. With the structure’s glass architecture and the use of cell phones, intimate encounters were possible in public. Love messages were written large in freshly fallen snow on the plaza in front of the courthouse across the street from the prison windows. For a week Gonick and his crew staked out the site and spoke to these visitors, documenting their often-raucous semaphore and the silhouettes of the predominantly Native prisoners inside.
Precious Blood was commissioned by curator David McIntosh for the Nuit Blanche (Toronto) exhibition “Testbed” at Ontario College of Art & Design in 2007. A scale model of the prison structure was created out of translucent projection material and the architectural facets became multiple screens upon which interviews were projected.
Dimensions: 60” wide x 44” tall x 120” deep
Editor - Cliff Caines
Design - Przemek Pyszczek
Documentation - Darren Wall
Production Assistant - April Seenie